The bulbs are part of the "One Bulb Revolution," a campaign to promote the replacement of regular light bulbs with energy-efficient flouresecent bulbs. (Fluorescent bulbs don't use heat to create light and are 4-6 times more efficient than incandescents.) According to Daily Acts, "over its lifetime, one compact fluorescent bulb prevents 1,000 - 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide from heating the atmosphere." The "revolution" part of all this is that if we all replaced five of our high-use household incandescents with compact flourescents we'd collectively prevent "more than one trillion pounds of greenhouse gases" from entering the air.
The very word flourescent though can send our ears ringing with that annoying hum and our eyes blinking from that barely-detectable flicker.
It's enough of crime that humans have to sit beneath them at work all day, feeling like today's special growing old under a warming lamp. Why would we volunteer for this torture at home?
Apparently compact flourescents neither hum nor flicker due to the way the ballast is integrated into the bulb. They do however contain a small amount of mercury, so be careful not to break them when installing and un-installing, and make sure you dispose of them properly.
By way of GE, here are the compact flourescent wattage equivalents for most common household incandescent bulbs.
• 60 watts incandescent = 15 watts compact fluorescent
• 75 watts incandescent = 20 watts compact fluorescent
• 100 incandescent = 26-29 watts compact fluorescent
• 150 incandescent = 38-42 watts compact fluorescent
• 250-300 incandescent = 55 watts compact fluorescent